It can be frightening to publish our writing. Putting something out into the world can make us feel exposed. And we worry about what the critics are going to say.
Do you get a chill when you hit publish or send an email to your list?
Watch this talk from Brené Brown, expert on courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy, to understand why it’s not about winning, it’s not about losing, but it’s about showing up and being seen. It’s about stepping into the arena.
We can’t ensure that the critics won’t be in the arena when we step out into the world*.
But we be sure there’ll be shame (I feel humiliated), scarcity (it’s not original), and comparison (she did it better).
We don’t need to stop caring what people think. But we do need to show up.
And we need to remember that the critics aren’t the ones who count.
Are you ready to step into the arena?
*Here’s the Theodore Roosevelt quote Brené references:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
― Theodore Roosevelt
Love to hear more about the writing mindset? Pop your email below and get new posts delivered straight to your inbox.
I’m a recovering perfectionist. I could spend days, weeks even, perfecting a post. Moving commas here and there and shifting paragraphs around.
Now I use strategies that allow me to consistently produce content that is useful for readers.
Whether it’s for your email list or for your blog, you can speed up the writing process and still create content that adds value and that your audience wants to read.
1. Write about what you know
This may seem obvious, but one way you can ensure that your content will be engaging and useful is if you write about something you know well.
Don’t be afraid of sharing your own learning process. Readers don’t want to be intimidated by your knowledge; they will want to know the mistakes you have made and the steps you took to overcome your blocks.
2. Plan content in advance
One sure way to speed you the writing process is to know what you are going to write about before you sit down at your keyboard. You can plan out topics and working titles to suit your business goals or the action you want your readers to take.
Then when it comes time to sit down to write, the writing itself is so much easier because you’ll have already done the bulk of the thinking.
If I’m working on a longer piece of work that I don’t finish in one sitting, then at the end of every session, I add to my ‘parking on a downhill’ document. This document tells me exactly where I finished in the previous session and what I’ll start writing the next day.
3. Write an outline
I used to have a romantic notion about waiting for inspiration to strike and then just letting the words flow. While this can be fun and freeing, I would spend so much time going back through what I had written to find ‘gems’ and then organising these into some sort of logical flow, that I never seemed to get anything out the door.
Now, I prefer to start by writing a promise and a title. That way, I know what the point of the piece is, and what I want readers to learn or get from it.
I’ll then outline the points that will help my readers to get there with one or two word headings. These headings can be tweaked afterwards for subheadings for a chapter or a blog posts.
For this post, I started with the following rough outline:
Once the outline is done, writing is so much easier. Having a clear outline also means that you can complete sections of writing in small pockets of time.
Planning to allow yourself these small wins will do wonders for your motivation!
4. Separate writing, editing and proofreading
Rather than spending the first 20 minutes of every session going back through what you wrote the day before and trying to perfect every sentence, get the content down first.
Leave the stylistic changes until the end. Once you’ve finished writing, look at editing the text. Do you need to move sections around? Do you need to delete sections?
Once you’ve got the content in a logical order and deleted anything that’s irrelevant, you can go back through and make stylistic changes.
Tweak the flow of the text on the sentence level, make sure you have the right words and check spelling, punctuation and grammar.
5. Set a timer
We concentrate best in small blocks of time. I like to set my timer for 25 minutes and write. During this time I will ignore all distractions where possible (the phone can wait, the emails, the research for a point I’m making and hopefully the kids).
It’s amazing what you can achieve in 25 minutes if you concentrate fully. For me, four focused 25-minute blocks of work can be better than trying to concentrate for 8 hours.
So there you have it—my top tips for writing good content quickly.
Know your subject, plan and outline your content, focus, and remember—it doesn’t need to be perfect to add value, but it does need to be useful.
What are your tips for creating content quickly without compromising quality? I’d love to know. Leave a comment below.
Love to hear more writing tips and tricks? Pop your email below and get new posts delivered straight to your inbox.